A young black man died in police custody on Wednesday, July 19 in the town of Beaumont-Sur-Oise.
24-year-old Adama Traoré was celebrating his birthday on the day he was arrested and died in the hands of French police. According to the AFP news agency, he was taken into custody after interfering in the arrest of his brother in a case of extortion. The news story caught the media’s attention only after young people, who were close to Traoré, expressed their outrage in the streets, leading to violent exchanges with the police.
The police claims that Traoré died of a heart attack, while his family claims he did not have any heart problems.
His brother, who witnessed his arrest, claims he saw his brother being chased and hit by the police.
‘I saw the officer with blood on his T-shirt but no injuries. He had my brother’s blood on his T-shirt.’
A press conference by the police commissioner (meant to take place following the death of Traoré) was cancelled. Friends and family of Adama took the opportunity to go to the press themselves and called out the police for trying to lie about the events and requested to see Traoré’s body. They also claimed that the media were siding with the police and only took interest in the story because of the riots.
Following up to the press conference, a peaceful sit-in took place outside of the police station where Traoré is said to have died. The protesters were met with tear gas as is shown in this video on Twitter :
After being denied access to Traoré’s body for over 24 hours, his family was finally granted permission to see him. They have called on a lawyer’s service and have declared their willingness to get a counter-report on the police’s original autopsy. They also questioned the coroner’s report which ruled that Traoré suffered from a serious infection.
Marine Le Pen’s party, the National Front, expressed their support to the police forces on Twitter. Other political parties and figures in France have yet to comment on the story.
Follow the story through #JusticePourAdama and #BLMFrance.